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Search tags: 2018-library-challenge
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review 2018-04-21 02:34
Invisible City
Invisible City - Julia Dahl

First in a series is tough. Making the jump from journalist to novelist is tricky. 

 

Invisible City is a solidly plotted murder mystery that reads more like a police procedural than a cozy (though our main girl is a journalist not an officer of the peace).   While better than many first novels, there's plenty of room for growth.  In particular, I felt like the book was a hodge-podge of thinly veiled elements from a number of recent sensational news stories rather than being fully original. 

 

Like the main character, author Julia Dahl has a Jewish mother and a Christian father.  While it's always difficult to write about insular communities without a true in, I felt like a lot of Ms. Dahl's personification of the Ultra-Orthodox characters was built on stereotypes.

 

I'm counting this as an IRL bookclub read because Julia Dahl will be speaking in my community about book #3 in the series (released about a year ago) on Sunday.  I read Invisible City because Conviction was checked out of the Library and I wanted to have read something by the author before I went to brunch.

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review 2018-04-09 03:19
Wild
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail - Cheryl Strayed

I did not like Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail very much.  I just couldn’t get past Cheryl Strayed’s unpreparedness for long-distance hiking and found her a distasteful person who I didn’t particularly want to spend time with.  I also found the narrative disorganized and the insights she gained from her journey pedestrian. If Wild hadn’t been the selection for my office book club, I probably would not have finished the book.  As it was, partway through I stopped reading and started skimming.

 

Several of my co-workers also didn’t like Wild very much either, including one person who said that she expected much more from the author of Tiny Beautiful Things (which I have not read).  A number of others hadn’t finished, but had seen the movie, so we spent as much time comparing the book to the movie and discussing other wilderness journey movies as discussing the book itself.

 

In other news, the office book club appears to be turning into a book-to-movie club, which isn’t actually such a bad thing. Our first selection was Room, our second was Wild, and our next choice is The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a re-read for me (I listened to the audiobook a few years ago). I’m looking forward to re-reading it and  I’m interested to hear what the others think. And we’ll see how the scheduling goes, but we’re also starting to kick around the idea of a movie night where we watch the movies and talk some more.

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text 2018-04-05 01:10
February and March 2018

Round-up of books read in February and March that I don't intend to write standalone posts for.

 

The Obelisk Gate - N.K. Jemisin  The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth) - N.K. Jemisin  

 

My favorite of the books I've read recently were probably Books 2 & 3 of N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth Trilogy.  I typically don’t like to read books by the same author or in the exactly same genre right in a row.  But this trilogy benefited from keeping the characters and situations very fresh.  If you like speculative fiction, I definitely recommend 2016 Hugo Winner The Fifth Season and the solid sequels The Obelisk Gate  and The Stone Sky.

 

Cast in Shadow - Michelle Sagara West,Michelle Sagara  Cast In Courtlight - Michelle Sagara  Destroyer - C.J. Cherryh  

 

I restarted the Cast In ____ series by Michelle Sagara and continued the reread of C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner Series with volume #7.  Ms. Sagara’s writing isn’t anything extraordinary, but I’m enjoying the multi-species world and their interplay (with DRAGONS!).  Cast in Shadow and Cast In Courtlight  are definitely light reading unlike the convoluted language used by Ms. Cherryh in Destroyer, but there's a place for both types of books.  

 

We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie   A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier - Ishmael Beah 

 

And while I haven’t made much progress on I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, the Flat Book Society selection, I’ve read some non-fiction during February and March including:

 

 

  • Ishmael Beah’s  A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, which was assigned to my 10th grade son.  I think A Long Way Gone was groundbreaking when first published in 2007, but I found it rather dry and not particularly well organized,  As the world continues to spiral with horrors, I hope they can come up with something better edited to represent the child soldier experience. 

 

I'm currently on-pace for my goal of 52 books read this year, despite my other responsibilities, which makes me happy.

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text 2018-03-05 01:59
Flat Book Society: I Contain Multitudes
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life - Ed Yong

Just started I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life.  I like the "voice" of the intro and hope it continues throughout.    

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text 2018-03-04 03:34
Reading progress update: I've read 40%.
Dune - Frank Herbert,Orlagh Cassidy,Scott Brick,Euan Morton

I have such different ears than when I first read Dune as a young adult.  This time through, I keep being struck at just how sexist much of the beginning is despite having Jessica as a strong female lead.

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